Darren Bent’s goal deep into added time gave bottom-of-the-table Fulham a dramatic 2-2 draw and delivered another blow to United’s hopes of Champions League qualification, They are now nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
Moyes said: ‘You could (point to) mental softness that we didn’t see the game out and get the job done. I would agree with that. Was it lack of concentration? Yes, maybe.’
It was the fifth time the Barclays Premier League champions have conceded a costly late goal at Old Trafford this season, and followed shock home defeats by West Brom, Swansea, Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton.
Asked if he thought his first season as Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement would be this bad, Moyes said: ‘Probably not, no. Today was as bad as it gets. The players are hurting. I can see every day that they’re hurting because the results aren’t going the way they want.’
United dominated but fell behind to Steve Sidwell’s early goal. Two in the space of 83 seconds from Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick had Moyes celebrating on the touchline, but he was brought back down to earth.
‘We dominated the game,’ he added. ‘Being one down was bad enough and the amount of attempts, chances and play we had was unbelievable. How we didn’t win I have no idea.
‘To say we were “defending” the lead at 2-1 would be the wrong word to use. Even when they put up five minutes (added time) Fulham never came up the pitch.
‘They left us with the ball so it was nearly a case of just playing out time and we gave away a diabolical second goal.’
United now go to Arsenal on Wednesday night desperately in need of a win to revive their hopes of finishing in the top four.
It was a dramatic return for Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen, the former United first-team coach who turned down an opportunity to stay on when Moyes took over last summer.
Meulensteen is under mounting pressure to save his job following four league defeats and an FA Cup exit to Sheffield United. For all United’s possession, he claimed that his old club were predictable.
‘I thought the game plan was quite straightforward – get it wide, get it in,’ he said. ‘If you’re well organised and the goalkeeper is in good positions then, yes, it can be easy (to defend against).
‘You need a little bit of creativity and a bit of variety at times to open teams up.’
Asked if there is now a chink in United’s armour, he added: ‘I do think a few teams have come here with a different sort of approach, so yes I do think there’s a little bit of that.
‘But it’s not for me to talk about Manchester United and what’s gone wrong with it.’
Written by Steve Milne